Apr 9, 2012

Posted by in Question | 25 Comments

Question – Are You Still Into YA?

I used to read YA (Young Adult) titles.  In fact, for a while, that is ALL I read.  I remember going to the bookstore with my cousin and glancing at the ‘adult’ paranormal books and scoffing.  I said to her:  “OMG look at how tiny the font is?  Who can read that?!”  Yeah…I was a little bit stupid back then. (That was 2009 by the way…).

At the time, I was convinced that YA titles were easier to read and that the stories were lighter in comparison to titles meant for adults.  Honestly though, how could I know when I had yet to pick up a “grown-up” book.  In really, adult titles scared me.  I watched Oprah on occasion and I saw the kinds of books she promoted so naturally I assumed that all books written for adults were like the ones she talked about:  depressing, heavy and overly emotional.  And I wanted nothing of that, thank you very much.  And don’t get me started on ‘adult’ titles as in romance books – those just intimidated me!  They couldn’t be any good if people made fun of them on TV or in movies right?  So I kept on trucking with YA titles.

But not too long after scoffing at the book in the bookstore, I found that YA books were not, in fact, extra easy to read and that some were, in fact, very depressing.  If they were not ‘down in the dumps’ books they were too light and too high school.  It got to the point where I was not giving a damn who the chick in the book was going to prom with, I just wanted them to kiss!  That was my first indication that maybe it was time I moved on.  But to what?

I’m not going to get into details about my journey into romance and urban fantasy books since I have told this story a few times before and it is also on my ‘About Me’ page, but I will tell you that I have tried to pick up a YA here and there since discovering my new favorite genres and I find I have a lot of trouble getting into them.  I really can’t say why because there are some amazing YA books out there.  As of now, there are only two YA series that seem to keep me entertained enough to keep reading:  one is the series that really got me into reading and the other is written by a UF author I admire and when her first YA book was about to release, she asked me if I would be interested in reading her YA series and I said yes.  The premise is very interesting and I’m finding that I am quite enjoying it so I am continuing with it.  That’s it.  Two series in YA that I read.  Other than that, it’s all ‘adult’ books for me now.

So what about you?  Are you still into YA?  Of not, were you ever?




  1. Katrina T. says:

    Hi Julie, I actually feel the same way about YA books. I first started reading Romance novels, then discovered YA books, and Paranormal Romance and Urban Fantasy just followed. I usually just read YA fantasy books now, because it takes a while for me to get into those YA books set in high school. I just came to a point wherein everything just had a similar teen-ish feel, and I don’t like reading YA books that are too light or depressing. So I leaned more towards YA fantasy books like Poison Study, and tended to avoid those YA books set in high school with high school issues going on. I’m in adult book mode right now, but I definitely won’t abandon YA. I’ve found a lot of gems in the YA genre. And maybe when it gets too dark and gritty in PNR and UF, I will go back to reading YA.

  2. Ooh, I love this question! I can’t wait to ream YA out on Wednesday. LOL But I’m curious, which two YA series do you still read?

  3. Katrina – Poison Study is one of my mostest favorite books ever. It skirts YA/Adult though. But I can totally see how YA Fantasy would be more tolerable. Great point. 🙂

    Carmel – I still read The Mortal Instruments by Cassandra Clare. I adored the first three books and read the fourth after I ‘got out’ of YA. I still enjoyed it quite a lot but it wasn’t the same. lol And I read Jennifer Estep’s Mythos Academy. It’s set in a school but it’s a very interesting premise. 🙂

  4. Michele says:

    Definitely still read YA. It’s probably an even 50/50 split between adult & YA for me. In fact, just read a really good YA this weekend, Embrace by Jessica Shirvington, and when I finished, picked up an adult title. It’s all about variety & the mood I’m in when I start a new book.

  5. I read both YA and Adult and all types of genres. I like the darker YA.. dystopian, paranormal, urban fantasy. I don’t think I will be ever be able to read straight up contemporary YA, but I look for books that appeal to me, not where they are housed in the bookstore..LOL

  6. Rain Maiden Jen says:

    I do enjoy a good YA, but Urban Fantasy books fill up my shelves. About once a year I crave a teen romance. Gotta mix it up. 🙂

  7. Actually, I think I went backwards (as usual). I started out only reading PNR. Period. Then, there was a bit of kicking and screaming, but I gave a few UF series a try and grudgingly admitted how great they were. Now, I find myself hitting the YA books hard, and really enjoying them, too. As long as they are paranormal, I seem to be happy with anything now.

  8. I used to read lots of YA, but I can’t seem to get into YA books anymore. To me they all seem to have a sameness of tone and character (and I know this is probably totally untrue, but based on the narrow sampling I’ve glommed onto it’s been my experience.) The last YA I enjoyed reading was Susan Ee’s “Angelfall”. Maybe I prefer romance and paranormals because I don’t want to read about sexual tension without sexual gratification or maybe I just need to keep trying YA books every once in a while.

  9. Truth be told I was not into YA when I was YA. I read YA books because they came across my way and they were big (now), but I still do not truly like ya. The kids are so bitchy, the drama is silly and the angst, omg. But there are some good books too

  10. Well as you know from our twitter conversation this morning, I do not read YA. I never was a big YA fan, but I devoured Twilight and looked at a few others back a few years ago. But now that I read “big girl” books – PNR and UF, I just can’t stomach going back. I did pick up a new YA series for review in May – I hope it goes well. But like I said to you this morning… mostly I just want to say “SHUT UP!” 🙂

  11. I am feeling over YA atm. All the books are so samey lately, and the behavior of some of the authors and YA bloggers in recent months hasn’t made me any more inclined to read YA novels, either.

  12. Kimberly says:

    I still love YA, particularly dystopian and paranormal. I read both YA and adult and I think some of the best books Ive read in the last few years are YA.I find that alot of the YA authors are simply great storytellers and can write with a voice that just pulls me into the book from the first line. And like kimba88, if a book’s summery sounds good, I don’t care if its YA or adult.

  13. I have read YA, and enjoyed what I read. That said I just got to the point of not being able to appreciate teens saving the world. So many of the teens acted like middle aged warriors or oh-so mature adults that I just couldn’t handle the fantasy of it all.

  14. I am not in YA, I do sometimes try it. The one that I do like is the Mythos Academy by Jennifer Estep. If one of my favourite authors goes writing YA, I have the habit of trying it. Or rather, buying it and forgetting to read it.
    One author I do love though is Cate Tiernan. 2 great series I have read sofar, Wicca/Sweep and Balefire.

  15. I rarely read YA. I think I’m just too far removed from high school. In addition, I don’t like dystopian themes, emo love triangles, boarding schools, or teenagers discovering that they are actually angels, and I think that describes about 75% of the YA paranormals out there.

    There are exceptions, of course. I do read the Mythos Academy (boarding school, I know), since I love Jennifer Estep, and I also really loved Julie Kagawa’s Iron Fey series. Other than that, I’m happy with a steady diet of adult romance and paranormal, with only the rare YA thrown in.

  16. I never was much of a YA reader, I can count all the YA titles I have read after high school on my two hands. I don’t like how authors usually simplify the language and make the writing quality less developed, less detailed than if they were writing for adults (of course exceptions exist!). Besides the high school drama what drove me up the walls were the immature whiny drama queen heroines ugh. Irritated me too much.

    A YA series I enjoy a lot is Jennifer Estep’s Mythos Academy series 🙂

  17. Well, I like reading from time to time some YA books, but I can’t read a lot… I don’t really know why. But it’s nice because it’s always a fast read.

  18. Michele – I can totally see how mood would play a role in it. Good point. 🙂

    kimba88 – Well said. Look at the synopsis and not where it lives.

    Rain Maiden Jen – A nice teen romance. The innocence can be interesting to read, that is true.

    kaleigha – Backwards! I like that. lol

    pamelia – That’s what I found too. That they all seemed similar. I’m sure that is not true now but I can’t really bring myself to check – too much to read in the ‘adult’ book world. lol

    blodeuedd – Yes, they certainly can be filled with angst. *shudder*

    twimom – ‘shut up’ still makes me giggle. lol

    heidenkind – OMG the blogger/comment/author drama lately is annoying. And it’s true – it’s YA! Gah!

    Kimberly – I saw many a YA books ended up on end-of-the-year-bestest-reads lists on many not-only-YA blogs so I can totally see how many YA books really are amazing. 🙂

    Dot – OMG I totally agree! When authors write teens who are too adult…it’s too much.

    aurian – *runs to GR to check out Cara Teiran*

    JenM – I am totally with you on your ‘not like’ list. And yes, I read and enjoy Mythos too and I am aware it is boarding school. Let’s just not focus on that. 😉

    Stella – It’s amazing how many who don’t usually read YA read JE’s Mythos Academy books! Go Jen!

    melliane – It is a fast read, which is nice. But yes, one is enough. lol

  19. I’m still holding out that Kristin Cashore will write her next book. But on the whole I can’t stomach YA. Really what I love is fantasy in any form, so for me it’s more is this a good story in spite of it being YA than the other way around. I can’t think of any YA that I’ve read and enjoyed that wasn’t fantasy. Gossip Girls and the like give me convulsions. Like you, I was really into the mortal instruments series. I’m still reading them, but I’ve found myself rolling my eyes and thinking oh get over yourself quite a few times in the more recent book. My guilty secret is that I still sort of like the Twilight books *shifts eyes side to side* I know it’s terrible! But something about them is still entertaining even though I’m cringing at the same time. Anyone else have that love/hate relationship with Twilight?

  20. Ha! Of course now that I check, Bitterblue is going to be released in May. That’s one YA I’ll buy for certain.

  21. Mithrendiel says:

    I do still enjoy YA, and I’m still working under the illusion that they ARE easier to read and the stories are a bit lighter (if not in subject matter than it least in length and depth). You make some very valid points though, Julie. I’m sitting here, going over the YA books I’ve read recently and I’m starting to realize some of them have been pretty darned depressing. Like I just finished Shiver – which I loved, but it certainly didn’t put me in a chipper mood. So, let me see if I can break down some key elements I enjoy in stories and compare my impressions between YA and adult fantasy stories:

    Romance: For the most part I enjoy the romance in adult fantasy novels a bit more than YA fiction. YA romances can be sweeter and more about romance than sex, however they can also be very unfulfilling. They try so hard to keep YA PG or G rated, that we barely get to see the character’s kiss much less do anything more than that. The flip side of that though is romance/paranormal romance books can be TOO quick to jump right into sex, sacrificing romance. I also think some YA books like Shiver and Hunger Games try to cater to both male and female audiences which means less romance for me. Boo!

    Characters: Once again, adult fantasy wins here. I have a hard time relating to teenagers, I guess. The YA fiction I enjoy tends to have very mature young people, who somehow morph into very adult 19 year olds in my head no matter how they are described in the books. My favorite age for characters is probably in their late 20s. It’s sad to say, but I tend to strongly dislike YA fiction with realistic “I hate everything,” bitchy, or impulsive teenagers. For YA to work for me the teens have to be extraordinary, and extremely mature (basically adults trapped in teen bodies). Fortunately there are tons of YA books out there that meet my criteria.

    Story: YA definitely wins out over paranormal romance in the story and adventure departments and probably ties with adult fantasy. One of the things that makes YA stories special is the tendency to have epic, high adventure stories. I’m thinking of books like Insurgent, Poison Study, Hunger Games, Girl of Fire and Thrones, and Blue Sword here. Where the unexpected hero goes out and does great things. You don’t find high adventure as much in adult books. You get a lot more mystery, suspense, and intrigue though which are equally appealing.

    So, at the end of the day, I guess I prefer adult fantasy, but there will always be a place in my heart for YA. If I look back over my reading history, I find I turn to YA books after I’ve just slogged through some dark, heavy, or depressing adult fantasy story, and I want something a bit “lighter” and “easier to read.” And sometimes lighter and easier to read just means it’s got a lower word count, I guess. : )

    – Jessica / Mithrendiel

  22. Mithrendiel says:

    And Jordan – I still love the Twilight books! 🙂 Especially the first one and the last half of Breaking Dawn. There’s just something so simple and beautiful about the romance – two rather flawed, but interesting people falling in love. Twilight (book 1) is one of my rainy day, I’m-feeling-blue go-to books.

  23. I am not drawn to YA books but I am not against them. I loved the Harry Potter series. I find YA books have awesome covers but even those covers haven’t drawn me in yet. I think because I am so comfortable with my adult reads and I am not tired of them, I just haven’t sought out something newish to read.
    I find when I do read a book like the Mercy series by Patricia Briggs, as much as I love them, I want them to be bit more adult in the intimate scenes.
    This attitude of mine is another reason I have ventured. I am totally not interested in a teen’s love story or adventure really. I mean I love Glee on TV but really I just fast forward to the music. I can’t stand the teen drama.

  24. Jordan – Rolling your eyes and telling them to get over themselves…that made me giggle. And I was going to tell you about Bitterblue. lol I did REALLY enjoy Graceling and will be checking out the newest in the series but probably not right away. 🙂

    Jessica – I love your answers! They are so well thought out. 🙂 I agree with you with everything you said. And how PNR plots aren’t as rich as YA – I think it’s because adult books can run for 10 or 20 books in a series so the story is allowed to drag. Yet YA can’t go that long without losing some of it’s readers to, you know, getting older. 😉

    Michelle – So basically you need some smut. I am totally with you there. Totally. 😉

  25. No. Really I’ve out grown it but I still keep buying a YA book every now and again especially when I can get them for 1.99! Total bargain. I then force the books on Ry’s younger brother to read when he comes visit as he likes the YA genre. So technically there not wasted but I really need to make myself stop buying them!

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